Paul (icon)

Following is a Georgian Orthodox icon of Paul the Apostle from the 14th century (located in the Art Museum of Georgia, Tbilisi).

Orthodox Icons are not drawings or creations of imagination. They are in fact writings of things not of this world. Icons can represent our Lord Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the Saints. They can also represent the Holy Trinity, Angels, the Heavenly hosts, and even events. Orthodox icons, unlike Western pictures, change the perspective and form of the image so that it is not naturalistic. This is done so that we can look beyond appearances of the world, and instead look to the spiritual truth of the holy person or event. (Source )

See also Paul.

Paul

The term that is transliterated as “Paul” in English is translated in American Sign Language with a sign that signifies the many letters he wrote. (Source: RuthAnna Spooner, Ron Lawer)


“Paul” in American Sign Language, source: Deaf Harbor

In Spanish Sign Language it is translated with a sign depicting putting away a sword, referring to his conversion from a persecutor of Christians to a Christian leader. (Source: Steve Parkhurst)


“Paul (and Saul)” in Spanish Sign Language, source: Sociedad Bíblica de España

Click or tap here to see a short video clip about Paul (source: Bible Lands 2012)

See also Paul (icon).

complete verse (Acts 21:39)

Following are a number of back-translations of Acts 21:39:

  • Uma: “Paulus answered: ‘I here am a Yahudi, from the town of Tarsus, a town with a big name in the land of Kilikia. Please give me chance to speak to that crowd there.'” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “‘I am not,’ Paul said. ‘I am a Yahudi. I was born there in Tarsus, in the land Kilikiya. I am a man from a prominent place. I ask of you, colonel, let me speak to these people.'” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And Paul answered, ‘I am a Jew, a subject of a large city in the province of Silicia, because I was born in Tarsus. I beg you that you permit me to speak to the people.'” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “‘It was certainly not I,’ answered Pablo, ‘because as for me, I am a Jew from-Tarsus in the province Cilicia which is a famous (lit. being-newsed) city. There is also that which I would like to tell the people, if it-is-possible.'” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “‘Respects to you,’ said Pablo, ‘far from me is what you refer to for I am a Jew, a taga Tarso which is in the district of Cilicia. That place of mine is indeed a famous city. If possible/acceptable to you hopefully, I want to speak to this crowd.'” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)

formal 2nd person pronoun (Spanish)

Like many languages (but unlike Greek or Hebrew or English), Spanish uses a formal vs. informal second-person pronoun (a familiar vs. a respectful “you”). Spanish Bibles all use only the informal second-person pronoun (), with the exception of Dios Habla Hoy (third edition: 1996) which also uses the formal pronoun (usted). In the referenced verses, the formal form is used.

Sources and for more information: P. Ellingworth in The Bible Translator 2002, p. 143ff. and R. Ross in The Bible Translator 1993, p. 217ff.

See also the use of the formal vs. the informal pronoun in the Gospels in Tuvan.

request / beg (Japanese honorifics)

Like a number of other East Asian languages, Japanese uses a complex system of honorifics, i.e. a system where a number of different levels of politeness are expressed in language via words, word forms or grammatical constructs. These can range from addressing someone or referring to someone with contempt (very informal) to expressing the highest level of reference (as used in addressing or referring to God) or any number of levels in-between.

One way to do this is through the usage (or a lack) of an honorific prefix as shown here in the widely-used Japanese Shinkaiyaku (新改訳) Bible of 2017.

The concept of “requesting” is translated in the Shinkaiyaku Bible as o-negai (お願い), combining “request” (negai) with the respectful prefix o-.

(Source: S. E. Doi, see also S. E. Doi in Journal of Translation, 18/2022, p. 37ff. )

imperatives (kudasai / Japanese honorifics)

Like a number of other East Asian languages, Japanese uses a complex system of honorifics, i.e. a system where a number of different levels of politeness are expressed in language via words, word forms or grammatical constructs. These can range from addressing someone or referring to someone with contempt (very informal) to expressing the highest level of reference (as used in addressing or referring to God) or any number of levels in-between.

One way Japanese show different degree of politeness is through the choice of an imperative construction as shown here in the widely-used Japanese Shinkaiyaku (新改訳) Bible of 2017.

In these verses, the honorific form kudasai (ください) reflects that the action is called for as a favor for the sake of the beneficiary. This polite kudasai imperative form is often translated as “please” in English. While English employs pure imperatives in most imperative constructions (“Do this!”), Japanese chooses the polite kudasai (“Do this, please.”).

(Source: S. E. Doi, see also S. E. Doi in Journal of Translation, 18/2022, p. 37ff. )

Translation commentary on Acts 21:39

Paul’s reply to the commander (literally “but I am a man, a Jew”; see King James Version “I am a man which am a Jew”) is an unusual, but emphatic, way of saying merely I am a Jew (so most translations). Paul makes two emphases: (1) he is a Jew, and (2) he comes from a city outside of Palestine, which would help explain his relationship with the Greeks. Tarsus, the city of Paul’s birth, was an important city noted for its cultural, intellectual, and political significance. Luke literally says that this was a “not insignificant city” (see Phillips), which is translated “no mean city” by King James Version, Revised Standard Version, and New English Bible; what Luke means is that it was an important or a “well-known city” (Jerusalem Bible).

Let me speak to the people may be rendered as “grant me permission so that I may speak to the people.” It may, however, be necessary to use a term such as “mob” or “rioting people” so that it will be perfectly clear that Paul wishes to speak to those who have just tried to kill him.

Quoted with permission from Newman, Barclay M. and Nida, Eugene A. A Handbook on The Acts of the Apostles. (UBS Handbook Series). New York: UBS, 1972. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .